Dissociative Identity Disorder: Fearfully And Wonderfully Made (5)
Psalm 139: 13 – 18
Whenever Jane went into a trance state, she would slowly collapse herself on to the floor, and would remain in that position till I brought her out of it. After a few sessions, I became uncomfortable for her lying on the floor, even with a cushion under her head. So, I decided to explore this issue with Joan. “Joan, can you explain to me why you need to be on the floor whenever you came out?”
“Oh! Thomas (Jane’s husband) called me a demon, and said that a demon cannot share the same bed with him,” she clarified.
A word of explanation: whenever Joan came out at around 3 am, two to three times each week, she would roll herself off Jane’s side of the bed and gently land on the floor. Then she would begin her loud verbal tirade against Thomas for all his past misdemeanors. At times she would throw a pillow at him, but rarely attacked him. She had come out of past physical encounters with some injuries to herself. These outbursts would go on for an hour or so, before she would wake up, and get back into bed, not knowing what had transpired.
“Oh, I see. So you rolled off the bed because Thomas called you a demon and refused to have you sleep in the same bed with him?” I reiterated.
“Yes. He said a demon cannot share the same bed with a Christian.”
“Did you also threatened him that you had full control over Jane and can do anything with her, and that he had no power to stop you?” I queried.
“Yes. Since he called me a demon, I only said that to scare him because he is such a nasty man.”
“I see. Do I understand that you used Thomas’ ‘demon’ categorization just to frighten him, and had no real intention of harming him?” I double-checked.
“Yes. Ha ha ha! That really frightened him and kept him from hurting me.” She smiled broadly.
“OK. I understand now. Joan, since you are not a demon, and I do not regard you as one, in our future sessions, you need not fall to the floor when you come forward to talk to me. You can remain seated. And I think that would be more comfortable for you too. Is that agreeable?” I asked.
“Yes.” Joan replied. From that session to the end of Jane’s treatment, six and the half years later, whether it was Joan or someone else who came out to carry on a conversation, Jane remained seated.
This clarified the demonic aspect of Thomas’ labeling over Joan and concludes our enquiry into the possibility of Jane’s demonization. Since there were earlier deliverance sessions performed by a well respected local senior pastor of a mega-church after Jane’s conversion, and given the benefit of doubt that these sessions were successfully concluded, what remains within Jane’s personhood is her memory system, and Joan is part of it.
However, disconnected her memories may be, memories cannot be delivered the way encountered demons are handled. That is, one cannot ‘drive out’ isolated memory nodes from another’s mind. In fact, when these alters (or disconnected memories) are regarded as demonic, and attempts are made to dislodge them, what actually happens is that they are driven deeper into the subconscious or unconscious; depending on their original status of co-consciousness within the actual person. When this takes place, they remain hidden far longer in a patient’s memory system and may further distrust and resist whoever attempts to make contact with them in the future. Some of them are able to listen in on conversations and can decide later whether they can trust the counselor before coming out. So, it is likely that these alters will be the last ones that will self-disclose within the treatment regime as it progresses. In Jane’s case, it took her another 12 years after those deliverance sessions before these alters were willing to surface in their encounters with me.
In the next episode, we will meet another alter, which will commence us into our first treatment procedure. Given the number of dissociated cases I had seen in practice, each patient together with their numerous alters have their own preferences in the way they self-disclose, and which ones would come out consecutively. Usually, alters will remain hidden till a sufficient level of trust has been attained in session, to assure them that they would not be harmed again. On one occasion, with a different patient, it took four years before an alter surfaced suddenly, having listened in to our conversations all that time; and the alter’s appearance totally changed the patient’s initial psychiatric diagnosis of schizophrenia (although it is not impossible for the two diagnoses to co-exist together), which she had some preliminary doubt herself at the commencement of her treatment; she was not co-conscious with this particular alter.
So, the trajectory of which alter would surface first for treatment, not necessarily the earliest alter created, would depend on possibly what was most pressing for the patient at the point of therapy. As Jane’s story unfolds, it may sound a little disconnected, as I will keep to the original progression of treatment. However, I will try to provide Jane’s age from time-to-time to help us place the event chronologically in her life span.
How did Jane acquire a dissociative disorder, I shall handle later as we venture into her story which itself may be self-explanatory.